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Prosecutors want hotel murder suspect held without bail

  • Courtesy: Hawaii County Police Department
    Authorities chargedHoward Philip Zimmerman with second-degree murder

The tourist from Washington state charged with killing his girlfriend during their stay at a Big Island resort was on probation for domestic violence and cyber-stalking before arriving in Hawaii for vacation, according to police and court documents.

An autopsy conducted Friday on Susan Brockert, 44, of Bellevue, Wash., showed she died from multiple blunt force and sharp force trauma to her head and neck, Hawaii County police said.

Brockert was registered at The Fairmont Orchid at Mauna Lani Resort with Philip Howard Zimmerman, 46, also of Bellevue, who has been charged with second-degree murder, kidnapping and other charges. Prosecutors have asked that he be held without bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

Resort guests reported hearing screaming from the couple’s room on Monday, police said. Security and staff rushed to the room where a worker saw Brockert being struck in the head with an object. She was pronounced dead at a hospital Tuesday.

Police in Washington state said Friday that Zimmerman had a history of violence with his ex-wife.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joyce Seelen made a motion for no bail based on Zimmerman’s criminal history, noting that he is on probation for misdemeanor domestic violence and cyber-stalking and had been ordered to take anger management courses, according to documents filed Thursday in South Kohala district court. At least four orders of protection have been taken out against him.

In an email to a Big Island detective Thursday, Bellevue Police Department Capt. Autumn Fowler wrote that Zimmerman has made threats against his ex-wife Amy Zimmerman, the City Council, the police chief and a detective.

"Mr. Zimmerman’s behavior and escalating threats were so concerning that we actually had our detective seek a protection order against Mr. Zimmerman, an action that we do not enter into lightly," Fowler wrote. "Mr. Zimmerman also has a history of failure to appear at his court hearings related to the protection orders."

A November email from Brockert filed with the court documents shows she took out an order of protection against him.


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